This piece originally appeared on CNN.com, which has a business partnership with CareerBuilder.com.
Attempting to beat the clock isn’t always an option, but using creative and funny excuses is. There is no worse feeling than waking up in the morning, rested from good night’s sleep, and glancing at the clock, only to do a double-take: You’re late!
For most people, knowing they’re running late for work strikes the fear of God within them, and as a result, they move like there’s a fire under their feet to get ready. They hustle, scramble, frantically throw things into a bag and are out the door to ensure a timely—though unkempt and graceless—arrival at the office.
But for a smaller group people, knowing they are running late for work does absolutely nothing except stimulate their creative juices in order to make up the latest excuse as to why they are late for work—again.
Twenty percent of workers said they arrive late to work at least once a week, according to a February 2009 CareerBuilder.com survey of more than 8,000 workers. Twelve percent said they are late at least twice a week.
One-third (33%) of workers blamed traffic for their tardiness, while 24% said lack of sleep was the culprit. Ten percent of workers said getting their kids ready for school or day care was the main reason they ran late in the morning. Other common reasons included public transportation, wardrobe issues, or dealing with pets.
“While some employers tend to be more lenient with worker punctuality, 30% say they have terminated an employee for being late,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com.
“Workers need to understand their company’s policies on tardiness and if they are late, make sure they openly communicate with their managers. Employers have heard every excuse in the book, so honesty is the best policy.”
If you’ve decided honesty is not the best policy for you, don’t try using any of the following excuses as the reason why you’re late—they’ve been heard before.
Here are 12 of the most outrageous excuses employees have heard for being late to work:
- My heat was shut off so I had to stay home to keep my snake warm.
- My husband thinks it’s funny to hide my car keys before he goes to work.
- I walked into a spider web on the way out the door and couldn’t find the spider, so I had to go inside and shower again.
- I got locked in my trunk by my son.
- My left turn signal was out so I had to make all right turns to get to work.
- A gurney fell out of an ambulance and delayed traffic.
- I was attacked by a raccoon and had to stop by the hospital to make sure it wasn’t rabid.
- I feel like I’m in everyone’s way if I show up on time.
- My father didn’t wake me up.
- A groundhog bit my bike tire and made it flat.
- My driveway washed away in the rain last night.
- I had to go to bingo.
Follow the Culture
The general rule is that you should be in your desk, working by your designated starting time. Technically, even if you’re at your desk “on time” but you’re still booting up your computer, saying your hellos, and making a cup of coffee—you’re late.
Though you should always try your best to be punctual every morning, sometimes it’s safe to observe the company culture. If you arrive to work every morning to find all of your colleagues diligently working while you shuffle in on your own accord, your tardiness will probably stand out. On the other hand, if most people filter in at their own paces—within reason—an occasional late arrival will probably go unnoticed.